AP Limited Editions, where the pinnacle is another pen-peak.
Inked Happiness: AP Limited Editions won the first coveted Pen of the Year Award in 2016, which is about a decade since you began your journey. How did you manage to achieve this near impossible feat, especially in view of the fact that your competitors were some of the world’s best, with pen making legacies that are even many times your age?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: Fact is we work with pure passion and do all we can to work with the finest artists in Japan and Russia. The award was simply a recognition of and acknowledgement of the sheer artistry and mastery visible in the pen that won the award. Ours is a journey of striving to do better with each year, each creation. The awards are not something we focus on.
Inked Happiness: For 2018-19 too, three of AP Limited Edition creations have won the nominations – how does it feel to consistently win the appreciation (and adulation) of the cognoscenti of the global fountain pen community? Why are AP Limited Editions such a rage among the connoisseurs and the most discerning?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: I would like to stress here again that the awards, the nominations etc are not as important for us as is the fact that people love and appreciate our creations. We find it especially gratifying when we go to Pen Shows all over the world and people come up to us and tell us just how much they love our pens, even more gratifying is when actual users of our pens come to us and tell us how much they are loving the pen and even using it. It is this satisfaction that motivates me to do even better. The customer is all important for me… I am old school… customer is most important…
Inked Happiness: How do you explain the sheer audacity of the thought behind AP Limited editions? I use the term “audacity” deliberately – a rank outsider walking into the hallowed portals of fountain pen making, wanting to use the instrument of writing as a piece of art and a canvas for vanishing art forms. Surely eyebrows were raised? How difficult were the initial years?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: I have been a pen collector since the age of eight, I spent all my pocket money on pens as a kid and growing up I collected pens, read books about pens and tried to meet collectors and dealers worldwide. I was blessed with a mother who supported my hobby and then a wife who understood my obsession and supported my ideas. The idea to launch my own brand was a result of a childhood dream to one day create a world-renowned brand and my first foray was in menswear but that turned out to be a learning curve and a hard lesson, hence I took some time off and then launched AP Limited Editions when I thought I was ready. I was very fortunate I met some wonderful people in the US. The Americans are very forthcoming with information, they inspire you. I met Bernard Lynn of Dani who helped me with information and then I had my dear friend Eddie Kallman of the famous Airline International pen store in Texas who supported the brand and helped us launch the products. He believed in me and in our products.
The initial years were not actually difficult as Eddie was successful in selling many more pen than we could even imagine in just the first week of our launch.
The time after was indeed challenging at times as we faced fraud, we faced betrayal and we had all kinds of people we now regret having dealt with but time provides a healing energy and is these experiences only made my conviction even stronger.
Inked Happiness: Japanese Maki-e, Russian lacquer work – endangered art forms were given a fresh lease of life as it were by AP Limited Editions. Have you ever considered fusing these forms, for posterity, on a pen? Ever think about Indian art forms, like Tanjore or Patachitra for example? Pieces that will transcend the cliched iconography on CNC turned barrels which is sought to be passed off as high art in these parts of the world?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: We have indeed married the two art forms in a recent launch and we are constantly researching new ideas as well as art forms that are age old techniques now not so prevalent.
Inked Happiness: AP Limited Editions – exquisite, would be putting things mildly, yet, so tantalisingly beyond the grasp of ordinary pen lovers – is it divine ordain, or pure economic design? As a lover and lifelong collector of fountain pens, do you have plans to make your creations available at affordable price points?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: That is the idea. WE do not restrict the scope of work or technique on our pens with the artists and therefore our pens are not inexpensive but we listen to our customers and people at large and I find that there is a large number of people who desire to see more affordable pens from us… Our Urushi and Sakura Collections are indeed affordable and we are working on some very unique and interesting techniques for the next year.
Inked Happiness: You hail from Kolkata, yet AP Limited Editions are so conspicuous by their absence in India. Why? Do you have any plans to make your creations available in India? Showcase them at the least for the lovers of fountain pens to gape at, to celebrate the runaway success of “one of us”, to set an example, to help us dare?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: I would have loved to but I find it difficult to showcase our creations in India with the absence of an appropriate retail partner.
Inked Happiness: Do you ever think of establishing an all-Indian fountain pen brand? One that is born and bred, here in India for the world to appreciate? Any plans to help realise this dream that many of us, here in India, dream of?
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: That would be a welcome idea…
Inked Happiness: Anything that you would like to communicate to our readers.
Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions: Just that we love what we do, we work to improve and we listen so we are always open to suggestions, ideas and thoughts from pen collectors. Our bespoke service is designed for this purpose so we can create one of a kind pens for people depicting what they have only imagined to see on a pen … we want to bring to life pens that collectors have dreamt of and desired thus far… we have succeeded in doing this for heads of state, royalty and the super-rich but I would love to bring this service to all our collectors and pen lovers across the board.
For More information visit: https://www.aplimitededitions.com/